The most underrated tech brand is Sony.
Many people have this image of Sony as being a company that was once innovative, but has since fallen from grace and is now mostly known for gaming (Playstation), Music (Sony Music) and Movies (Columbia Pictures), the latter two not particularly related to tech.
Let me explain why Sony is still innovative in fact, at a higher level than Apple or Samsung or most other tech companies right now.
Firstly, Sony has been one of the most innovative tech companies of all time. The list of their accomplishments cannot be understated:
-They released the TR-55 one of their first products as the first transistor radio available in Japan
-They released the TC-50 a compact cassette recorder that was equipped with every NASA astronaut
-They released the VP-1100 the world’s first videocassette recorder
-They release the first color video camera, the XC-1
-The first commercial lithium ion battery was released by Sony in joint collaboration with Asahi Kasei
–Trinitron – Wikipedia televisions, whose superior design ( the single-gun three-cathode picture tube, and the vertically aligned aperture grill) made it reign supreme as one of the best color televisions on the market for over 20 years
-the Betamax – Wikipedia video format in the 1970s
-the first portable music player, the Walkman – Wikipedia in the late 70s
-SDDS format, a competitor to the Dolby surround sound format
–S/PDIF – Wikipedia interface (the S stands for Sony)
-the Super Audio CD – Wikipedia (Super Audio CD), still used today in some high end audiophile systems
-Sony released the first CD player the CDP-101
-Sony and Philips also jointly developed the Compact disc – Wikipedia
-Sony introduced the 3.5″ floppy disk, which lasted for a good 2 decades after their introduction
-the Blu-ray – Wikipedia format, was primarily spearheaded by Sony and still used today
-Other more forgotten physical media formats (all proprietary to Sony): UMD, MiniDisc, Memory stick, PS Vita memory etc
-the first popular CD based video game console, the Playstation (yes the Sega CD and Turbographx CD came before, but it was the PSOne that popularized the format for video games)
-the best selling video game console of all time (and most people’s first DVD player), the PlayStation 2 – Wikipedia
-the Vaio – Wikipedia line of laptops which amongst other innovations introduced the first LED backlit displays (became standard on all laptops after that), chiclet style keyboards (way before Apple and others did), thin and light designs (years before the MacBook Air), and switchable graphics (now standard on entry level gaming laptops)
-the first consumer OLED TV (the Sony XEL-1 – Wikipedia)
-the first truly immersive head mounted displays (Sony Glasstron, HMZ-T1 – Wikipedia, T2, and T3) – its designs are still being used today by smaller companies in the HMD niche
-The first handheld gaming console to use exclusively digital games and no physical releases (PSP Go – way ahead of its time)
-The Sony Tablet P – Sony Tablet – Wikipedia – was the first android device to use dual displays – this was 9 years before the Microsoft Surface Duo would bring back this design! Again, Sony was way ahead of their time.
-The first handheld gaming console with an OLED display (PlayStation Vita – Wikipedia)
-the LDAC (codec) – Wikipedia high res wireless audio codec
-the 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced connector now used by most DAPs (portable audio players)
That’s a heck of a lot of innovations for any tech company. But most people think Sony’s innovations have come and gone, and just like post Steve Jobs Apple, their products have languished since – and they couldn’t be more wrong! Sony is still innovating, they just have been very low key in marketing their more cooler products.
Let’s take a look at Sony’s current tech portfolio now, shall we? Some things may surprise you
-Sony’s most well known product right now is the PlayStation 4 – Wikipedia, and its the best selling console of its generation
-Sony’s Mirrorless Sony α – Wikipedia Cameras have completely upended the DSLR market and as a result forced Canon and Nikon and other camera makers to move to mirrorless as well
-Sony’s OLED TVs (like the A9F and A9G) have the speaker built into the display itself; no other television maker has done this
-Sony’s Quantum Dot TVs using Triluminous technology – came out WAY before Samsung’s QLED TVs did. Samsung would have you believe they invented it – but it was Sony.
-Sony’s Sony Xperia – Wikipedia phones are perennially underrated; they were one of the first smartphones to have water resistance (IP67+) and support high res audio and currently are the only smartphones on the market with a 21:9 cinema aspect ratio display. Also, they made the Xperia Pro-I, the first smartphone with a 1 inch camera sensor (the same sensor they have in their RX100 small size cameras)
-Sony’s high end Walkmans and Headphones (like the WM1Z and Z1R) compete with the best of the best from other high end audio, each costing over $2k+ – as a high end audio brand, Sony is as respected as any other company which is impressive for a company who dabbles in basically every price range. Sony SA-Z1 Hi-Res Near Field Powered Speaker System Signature Series their latest speaker, an unheard of design that projects near-field sound to the listener, retails for over $6k.
-Sony makes electric cars too
-Sony collaborates with Carl Zeiss to release their own lenses
-Sony is a leader in the production space with the Sony Vegas production software and their pro cameras like the HDC-5500 that competes with Arri and RED, used in Hollywood films.
-Sony is also a leader in the home audio space.
is an example of a very cool 360 spatial sound mapping design incorporated into home speakers.
is a wearable speaker – only Bose makes something else like this.
-Sony’s action cameras (AS300, X3000 etc) were the first on the market with optical image stabilization (OIS) – its competitors like GoPro were still using EIS (Electronic image stabilization)
-They have a line of very successful noise cancelling wireless headphones (WH-1000XM3) as well as the first ever noise cancelling wireless earbuds (WF-1000X) as well. The fact that they caught up to Bose in noise cancellation technology is astonishing considering that Bose specialized in that technology for years while Sony has their hands in every industry.
-Just other generally cool stuff that other companies do not care to try; Sony Glass Sound Speaker a glass speaker that doubles as a lamp? Sure.
How about a projector that can project touch surfaces onto any area? Xperia Touch Official Website – Sony Mobile (Global English) this is astonishing technology, and I can just imagine if Apple made something like this it would grab headlines everywhere. But Sony as usual, keeps their cool stuff low key.
-And lets not forget, they are still making aibo robots as well (again, which other company is doing this???).
Sony should be getting much more appreciation for their innovation. They are still one of the most innovative companies on the market yet people always forget about them. It’s very rare that a company does so many things so well, and for so long. That’s why Sony tends to charge a premium for their devices.
One thing I really wish Sony would do better is, name their products better and market better. That’s the advantage Apple and Bose have over them.